In October 2018, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors appointed Aileen Cassinetto to the honorary post of Poet Laureate. Aileen is the third (and first Asian-American) Poet Laureate of San Mateo County and will serve a two-year term beginning on January 1, 2019. Her role as Poet Laureate is to elevate poetry among San Mateo County residents and to celebrate the literary arts by making poetry more accessible to people in their everyday lives.
Widely anthologized, Aileen is also the author of the poetry collections, Traje de Boda and The Pink House of Purple Yam Preserves & Other Poems, as well as three chapbooks through Moria Books’ acclaimed Locofo series.
I began my two-year term on January 1st of this year with a vision of what I hope to achieve. I am thrilled to carry on the wonderful poetic legacy of my predecessors and have worked hard to start my term off with impactful programming and community connections. In the last five months, I’ve either organized or taken part in over 30 poetry-related events; visited 9 of the 32 communities in the county and conceptualized or participated in a total of 12 events to celebrate National Poetry Month. I’ve visited schools, city halls, churches, and the county jail to share my work; launched my “Speak Poetry” campaign, and promoted my events on NBC Bay Area and publications such as The Six Fifty, Half Moon Bay Review, and Redwood City Climate Magazine. I have also been a featured speaker at the College of San Mateo and at Skyline College, and collaborated with other poets to help raise awareness on issues such as women’s rights, environmental protection, prevention of cruelty to animals, gun control, rehabilitation of prisoners through poetry, and mental health and suicide prevention. As the county’s first immigrant and Asian American Poet Laureate, I also participated in the 10th Annual CSM Asian Pacific American Film Festival (which was a momentous event for a panethnic group that has, for so long, endured a lack of representation, especially in the film industry). Lastly, I am deeply honored to have been invited to read my poem in memory of those who died in service of our country at the 78th Annual Memorial Day Observance at the Golden Gate National Cemetery. Moving forward, I am working on a poetry project to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Ohlone-Portolá Heritage Trail and in honor of the rich history and culture of the first inhabitants of San Mateo County. (May 2019)
To contact: write[at]aileencassinetto.com or through the form below: